Employers Associations and Trade Unions in Argentina

1. Brief Description of Employees and Employers Organizations

Over the years, Argentina has evolved trade unions and employers’ associations that have encompassed all types of labour activities, and handled not only matters directly connected with labour relationships, but also health services, recreational amenities and other activities.

2. Rights and Importance of Trade Unions

a) National Constitution

Section 14 bis of the Argentine Constitution (“CN”) guarantees the existence of free and democratic trade union organizations recognized by means of their registration with a special register. The mentioned section also grants to unions the right to negotiate and execute collective bargaining agreements, file conciliation or arbitration procedures and the possibility to go on strike.

Through this section, union representatives are given the necessary guarantees and employment stability for the exercise of their role.

b) Convention No. 87 from the International Labour Organization – “ILO” –

Argentina has ratified Convention No. 87 of the ILO, which provides for freedom of association and protection towards the right of association. Therefore, all local regulations must be consistent with this Convention.

c) Labour Contract Law No 20,744

The LCL determines the employee´s right to exercise union activities and also provides for the prohibition of discrimination against employees on the basis of sex, race, nationality, religious, politics, profession or age.

d) Union Activity Law No. 23,551

This law establishes union association’s rights, such as the freedom of association, the right to strike, etc.

This law allows the coexistence of two (2) or more unions to develop the same activity, but grants the legal representation of all employees from the same activity exclusively to the union that holds more members. Therefore, the most representative union receives legal recognition.

3. Types of Representation

Union Activity Law grants some exclusive rights (such as the right to engage in collective bargaining, enter into CBAs, represent workers before government agencies or before Courts of Law, or call a strike) only to those associations that have legal recognition.

4. Number of Representatives

Unless the Collective Bargaining Agreement establishes otherwise, the number of representatives varies according to the number of employees working in a company:

  1. From ten (10) to fifty (50) employees: one (1) representative.
  2. From fifty – one (51) to one hundred (100) employees: two (2) representatives.
  3. More than one hundred and one (101) employees: an additional representative every one hundred (100) employees

5. Appointment of Representatives

The employee representatives are chosen by direct and secret vote of all employees, members and non-union members.

Trade unions must inform the employer of the name of the candidates that will be selected as employee representatives.

6. Tasks and Obligations of Representatives

The main tasks of the representative are:

  1. Monitoring the application of the legal or conventional rules and participation in the inspections prescribed by the administrative authority.
  2. Meeting with the employer.
  3. Submitting before the employers or their representatives any claim of the employees on whose behalf they act.
  4. Publicizing union communications.
  5. Giving advice and information to the union leader.
  6. Appointing staff’s meetings.

7. Employees’ Representation in Management

Supervisory personnel may organize in unions, but they are not allowed to belong to the same unions as non-supervisory personnel.

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